Mansions of Madness 2nd Edition
How is this game played?
Here at Detective Hawk Games, Mansions of Madness is one of our favorite games to play in the Arkham Horror Files Series.
The game comes with a modular board, which means that you unfold and lay on your table instead of having a single solid board. Instead, you get board tiles with detailed rooms within a mansion or even stores and streets for the neighborhood-level stories. The board unveils slowly as you investigate. There might be a door in the room you are in, and you will have no idea what's behind the door until you open it.
Sometimes those closed doors lead to monsters on the board. The Monsters and the Investigators are 3D miniatures that you can paint and look like the character.
The game is app enhanced, and the app is required to play. It is free to download on Apple's App Store, Steam, or Google Play. The app manages the story's progression, the board layout, the investigators, and enemies. The app doesn't track where they are on the board with the last two, but it tells you how to move the enemies relative to the investigators.
Each investigator takes a turn in each round of the game and can complete up to two actions. These can be to explore (open a door), search, fight, and others, leading to the investigators solving the mystery.
How do you Win? How do you Lose?
The specific way you win and lose in Mansions of Madness (second edition) varies between the story. The entire board is laid out differently for each story and even on replay of the same story. In general, winning a game involves completing several steps.
At the beginning of the story, you get an objective. That objective will update throughout the game, usually leading to a final boss battle. If you can win that last objective, the app will give you an animated and narrated ending to explain what happened.
The game is lost if any investigator loses all their health or sanity twice. The first time an investigator loses all their health, they become wounded. While wounded, they can only move one space at a time instead of the standard two spaces.
The first time they lose their sanity, they go insane. Going Insane is when the cooperative nature of the game changes. The insane investigator takes an insane card and secretly reads it. This card now becomes their goal in the game. Sometimes that goal is to "set fire to everything" or "kill another investigator," but there's also "the investigator wins as normal, but can no longer speak."
Whenever the investigators reach 0 damage or sanity the second time, the investigator is eliminated. All other investigators need to finish the investigation by the end of the investigator phase.
Is WHO I play in this game important?
Actually, YES! The choice of Investigator is vitally essential to the group's success. Each Investigator has a different amount of Health and Horror they can take. Game encounters and monster fighting will reduce these to 0 throughout the game.
Each Investigator also has six skills: strength, agility, observation, Lore, Influence, and Will. The amount of each varies by the Investigator. Some have a high Strength, and others have a high Lore or Observation. The number next to them is the number of dice you roll when testing. So a "4 Strength" means you roll four dice when testing strength. More dice give you a more robust opportunity of being victorious over someone with "2 Strength". There is a trade-off, you may not be very good at Lore, and that's why it's best to discuss who you are going to play before you start, so you have a balanced team.
The game uses custom eight-sided dice with faces either blank, elder sign, or magnifying glass. The elder sign is success and the one you want to roll. The magnifying glass allows you to spend a clue token you've found.
How long does the game take to play?
Each story is a multistage investigation. The game takes 2-3 hours to complete depending on which investigation you are tackling. The core box comes with four investigations. Each is a different story. Don't let the time commitment deter you, though. It never feels like you are moving slowly through the game. The time does fly!
Detective Hawk Games Recommends
As you can tell, we really enjoy this game, and we think you will too! If you want to read our full Review, check it out here.
This game is a lot of fun. We especially like the integration of the app. It takes a lot of the small tedious setup of other Arkham games and removes that. The app contains the story instead of using cards to provide the story. The app also keeps things moving and makes them easier to set up.
The game is highly immersive as the app has music and sound effects, which adds to the overall feeling that you are completing an investigation in this world.